Loosing the boy

009
My Odin

My little Odin. He thought he was as big as the mountain. He was fearless. Here is a picture of him April 18th, three days after his final and fatal Rabies vaccination. He was almost blind because the German in him would not stop trying to round up cats. They scratched him a few times and then he kept hitting his eyes chasing the ball or the toy of the day.  I did not notice anything different until the Sunday we went to Cibolo Creek to walk and see the river. We never made it to the river though. We went to the Marsh but then Odin was panting and I felt he needed water so we headed back to the car. He was drooling, nothing unusual there, he drooled when he was hot but we had not gone that far and it was not that hot. I was concerned but he seemed alright. Then he did not eat and I noticed that evening and the next day that he was tired, when he had no reason to be. Tuesday morning, he did not stand at the shower throwing toys in while I got ready for work and I knew something was seriously wrong with him. I took him to work with me and called the vet. My vet could not see him and recommended I be seen at another walk in vet in town.  He had gone from his crazy little self to a dog who could barely walk in a manner of days. I watched him get progressively worse while he was with me at the office. It took two days and two separate rounds of blood work but it was finally clear that he had Hemolytic anemia which “sometimes happens about a month after a rabies vaccination in about 1% of dogs.”   My boy was struggling because I had been a good pet owner and kept vaccines up to date. I set him up on the futon and I slept by his side.  He ate for me , I carried him outside to go to the bathroom because he could not walk anymore, I held water to his mouth for him to drink because he had trouble standing and I stayed with him hating to leave his side for more than a few minutes at a time. He was getting treatment but we were still hoping for the best and the vet did not expect him to make it though the first night after he saw him. By Saturday, when I was hoping for good news, his red blood cell count was so low he needed a transfusion.  Without it he would die. I had to rush him to specialist in San Antonio so he could be taken for more tests and I could be presented with treatment options. They showed me the paper work and financial breakdown of the treatment with medications and shots and blood work on top of the transfusions lined out for the day and if the count did not go up they would give more transfusions until his count could stay up on it’s own.  I thought of how much I hated needles and the fact that the Dr said the transfusion could cause cardiac arrest because his blood count was so low. After any or during any of the treatments to follow he could die. He would not be able to go home until his count was up and even if he pulled through he would always be high risk for relapse and would have to be on steroid treatment for a very long time.  I thought, I can hold my boy and let him go without all this pain in his future.  I chose to let him go. To let him free himself from the mortal coil that was looking to be a pretty sick and vet filled path. I held him in my arms , his heart beating next to mine…heart to heart.. and I looked in his beautiful brown eyes until all the life was gone from them and still I held him close to me. I told him, ” you come find me now O cause I don’t think I can do this anymore without you.” The vet finally came in, took him from me,  took off his collar and handed it to me. I placed it on my arm where it stayed until I picked up his ashes that Thursday.  After he was back home with me, I could stop wearing it and fold the futon back up into a couch and stop sleeping on it. I still sleep with his favorite blanket. I miss him so much that I can barely stand to be home most of the time.

016[1]
The day before….
       His last Friday with me, I drove him to the animal shelter where his friend worked.  This was a neighbor from our previous address that he had chosen to be his friend. He of course had friends that he knew because of me but this was his friend that he chose before either of us really knew her. He had good taste, I will give him that. Amelia is a dog person with a gentle spirit and he loved to see her on the street where we used to live.  I went in and told Amelia why I was there and she came out to the car to say good bye to him. She knew before I did that he was going. I heard her softly telling him you have had a good life buddy. You have been loved. I knew he felt good seeing her and he was so surprised that it was her!  He had not seen her in three years. He knew her though. He always knew his people. After that I opened the sun roof and we drove to Cibolo creek.  I parked where I could see this beautiful blooming bush from the car and opened the doors so he could see and smell the river and the park around us.  We sat and talked, resting in the afternoon sun before I felt he was tiring and wanted to be back in the cool dark house.

052
He loved the Guadalupe

 

You left me on a Saturday.  Sunday , Mother’s day, I went to church early. As the service went on I thought of how I always felt when I went to this church. Home at last…peace…comfort … and wanted as I have so many times in the past to do nothing more than curl up on the pew, right in the middle of the service, and just rest. Mother’s day and I felt like I had lost a child.  After church, I changed quickly and took off for Tai Chi class. My Southern Baptist paternal Grandmother who raised me was honored as I stood in the 1st Methodist church with a white carnation in my hand.  My biological Mother was honored while I went through my Tai Chi routine and set my intention to honor her on this day, in this way.

The rest of the day was spent at the river. I know it is good for me when I am emotional to be near the water. I was raised on the river and to the river I return whenever I get the chance. Odin loved the Guadalupe as much as I did.  At this point on the trail, coming back from the “rapids”, we would always rest together. There is a little bench on the left that you can just see the top of through the brush. We would sit there together and watch people go by, just happy to be close to the river and out in the woods.

Advertisements

2/14/2017

The last few Wednesday’s left of Texas winter have been nice. I have been able to work from home. It has been cold and after shopping for the day I am able to build a fire , get in a nice walk and work without interruption for quiet peaceful hours I could not have at the building. I am reclaiming my home again. The timing is perfect.

I could say it is because of Valentine’s day but I am not sure if that is it . I think it started after seeing a post from Delaney earlier today. Delaney is Tom’s daughter from another Mother.  A few times I have checked out her profile to see if she has pictures and if she looks like her Dad.  Maybe I had seen them before but suddenly two pictures of Tom, from the early seventies were on the screen. One I remember him showing me at the house on Willow and the other I knew because it was a favorite of mine. Pure Tom, being honest and vulnerable, probably loaded, or on his way. I sat looking at him, not a thought of what time it may be or that I was supposed to be getting ready for work. I was lost in memories which have been finding their way through my thoughts quite frequently of late.

One of the things I do like about this place I live in now, is the kitchen. It is a small, good for nothing, no counter space or storage,  galley kitchen, but I am no cook and it is not important to me. What is important is I stand at the sink washing dishes,  I look towards the door and it reminds me of the apartment at Dutch Village where we first lived together. I see you sitting in the living room,

007
Enter a caption

someone is visiting and you are talking and being sociable, but we share a look,  and we each know, we can not wait to be alone again. We were still locked in that world that was just us.  Actually, we stayed there throughout most of our marriage .

 

I get the feeling you are with me for a reason. I have felt you in times of great sorrow, ever since you left this world, as if you were there to comfort me through it. This is a difficult, but healing time. I am coming back . I checked out sometime before Christmas. I told my boss I needed to go and  seek some psychiatric care because I was broken. I was not kidding. I tried to get that care too but it did not work. I was “not sick enough” . I was just burnt out….fried…crisp…or the new term compassion fatigued. Shit!  I was beat down, had nothing left for me or anyone else, and at the end of my rope. I could not go back to the hell I had been through the past few years but  I saw it staring me in the face if I did not do something different. Cycling through the same behaviors and  expecting a different outcome after all IS crazy.

I did take a different road though and now I adjust to that. After so many years, it all comes down to the adjustment following decisions.

*note to self – ARIZONA

2017 -that’s a 10 – one with God

The house has been smudged, the prayers have been said and as I walk through my little home, blessing and cleansing with grateful heart for the sanctuary I create, my thoughts turn to the passing year.  It seems for the last twenty years I have been saying “whew that was a tough one”. Maybe they will all be tough. Today, I felt I was finally dealing with the things that began almost two years ago. The trailer for this review is  filled with horror, fears, tears, smiles, heart wrenched acceptance, and joy like I have never known with the birth of my Grandson, unexplored pain with the passing of two of my best friends,  codependency and living with addiction, the endless worry about the people I love and getting up every day to go to work where I feel I am standing in a field, in the center of the  flames.  My cup was empty. I had nothing left, but one foot still had to go in front of the other , right?  The only way to get through something is to keep walking to the other side, or at least that is truth for me.I search for patterns and overall themes and the underlying theme is the ANGER . I woke up mad, walked through the day mad, left my job with anger sometimes brewing as I drove the ten minutes to my home. I have spent a lot of time angry in my car. I had no where to hide, no cave to run into to lick my wounds and still the background theme is the anger.  I have always said I really grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, because it is where I learned to be self sufficient. Texas has been the  tempering fire to further shape my life and person.

I am no longer the naïve, idealistic child of the sixties that made the decisions, that led to the life that I now live. That part of me survived, but I am more careful , even guarded, and the light in my eyes does not always twinkle. I am worn with all I have seen, heard  and witnessed. The pain of recent events like an albatross on my soul dragging and luring me to come to bed and sleep…don’t think….rest before you begin the work ahead. Yet, thrown in to season everything are little pieces of pure joy!  A friend finds a song I wrote when I was 26- 27 years old and I am rummaging through memories that have given me not only a vehicle for self awareness but happiness through the mental flashes of the past. If things would not have been so difficult at home, I would not have gone on walk about. I would not have discovered the pool, the river, the parks and most of all I would not have had all the glorious walks … me…I’m with God…and I am with the mother….and for a litt008le while, I am FREE. There is no question that is therapy for me. When I am in the woods and looking for beauty. I find it. It does not disappoint. Returning to this part of myself has revealed more roads I can travel and I am so thankful.

In many ways it feels as if I am rowing through the mist and the fog and can’t  clearly see where I will go, only knowing deep in my soul I must move forward…I must set goals and be ready to fulfill them ….something is calling….calling me onward and away from here. I am driven to get rid of excess, to move lightly, but to keep firm upon the path and keep moving until I know my destination.

 

 

 

When it is all said and done … last week of 2016

listeningI caught myself getting angry that no one ever warned me how hard life could be or how impossibly heartbreaking , or incredibly inspiring a journey lay ahead. I had to let go of the anger…no one knew… how could they…it was my future…not theirs..and who listens when they are twenty years old and you think you know everything and you will surpass those around you because you know better. Would I have heard the truth in the words if they had been spoken? Would I have recognized the lessons that led to the knowledge that supported and nurtured that knowledge? I doubt it…I wish I had not known it all back then. I wish I would have known how to listen. It seems many years I have been learning to Listen.

 

Thanksgving 2016

Mike was cremated yesterday. Four words…  not even very big words ..but they are so heavy. They are present in my mind and I hear them and it is as if I am talking about someone else. I talked to him Saturday while I drove to Bandera River park. I sent him a picture of the Medina River as we continued to talk and I walked …by the river…into the woods…across the country road .  Then when the beauty I walked through would no longer allow me to multitask and admire,  we hung up, and I got lost in the land. I had learned to get lost in nature with unbounded freedom because of Mike. Living on the farm there were weeks I would not see another living soul. I wrote, I researched, I took classes and worked towards certifications in things that were spiritually important to me. I was allowed to have this beautiful break way out in the country with no one around …and it was … and it remains, so very special to me. I am not a Texan by birth, but unlike the clanish  Blue Ridge and Appalachia’s where I spent so many years,  you are not continuously met with the look and the phrase ” you ain’t  from around here are you?” If you want to be a Texan …  Move there. I learned that from living here and I learned it because of Mike Ragsdale.

At the Farm

003
I remember the day this picture was taken so clearly. I had been living in Texas a little over a year and I was getting ready to move to Sipe Springs , or as it is lovingly known to me now, “the Farm”.  It was almost Spring and as I stood with my daughter, Amanda, and I looked out over that landscape that looked so harsh and brittle, I wondered if I would ever learn to love Texas. I moved, went to work for Hospice and had some of the most profound experiences of my life but I grew weary of the wide open spaces.  I was lost without boundaries and felt the call to return to the hills. When I had moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains, I had discovered a comfort from being surrounded by mountains. I felt protected. So many days as I walked to class or to the hospital from my car or just around the neighborhood, I would look at those mountains and my heart would burst with gratitude to bear witness to such beauty. Texas had no boundaries, the room for growth was astounding and intimidating. After almost two years on the farm, I returned to Virginia, even deeper into the hills,  in Bath County.  I loved  being closer to my children and seeing old friends but I soon realized I no longer felt I belonged there. I was not making decisions from a stable place when I left Virginia before moving to Texas via Louisiana.  I wanted to make sure I made good decisions that were not fear based or the result of deep feelings of helpless/hopelessness. I took the time to be introspective and see what I could do to be of the most use to my family and myself.

I returned to the farm and ended up living there mostly alone for a year. I had started another journey in Virginia when I became a Reiki Master. It changed the way I thought about things. So , when I returned to the farm, I did a lot of writing and spiritual work.  I learned to track animals and become even more aligned with and appreciative of my environment.   I wandered over 100+ acres daily, watching the seasons, hanging out with my wolf hybrid, Sam, and staying busy with work that I loved.

Years have passed since I lived in Commanche County but I often catch myself with tear filled eyes as I look at the river,  check out a new park, work in my garden or become entranced by the sound of the wind as it blows through the tall grasses. It is during these times that I ask myself , “damn Leese, when did you fall in love with Texas?  The answer is always the same, “at the farm”.

Snails to spare

An abundance of snails are filling my space. I see them wherever I look around my home. They fall from the doors when they are opened, I see them overhead on porch ceilings at night and I peel them off of my plants. Solitary creatures of recluse, they carry their shells with them,  so they can always protect their tender inner selves. When snail presents, you may need to examine the walls you have built and ask for Spirit protection. Things from the past may resurface and snail encourages you to enter a place of healing to continue with  spiritual growth. We are reminded of the importance of protection and trust. Know when to trust and when to retreat and remain silent. A slow steady path of patience and perseverance may be required. You are being  asked to be present and manifest graceful balance.